A few weeks back I was with a number of salespeople from a cross-section of companies and industries.
The discussion was lively and very engaging, but what struck me was how none of them were truly focused on their sales leads. Several admitted quite readily how they had zero clue as to what they had in their pipeline.
The conversation struck me as ironic, because I had viewed many of these salespeople as being way above average in their skill set and ability to achieve results. I’m used to hearing comments like this from low performers, but from high-performers? Rarely. After hearing these comments, I talked to a few of my peers and found out these were not isolated comments.
The fact so many salespeople are struggling with their sales prospecting should be both comforting and discouraging to every other salesperson.
First it should be an encouragement, as it tells any salesperson who does have their act together when it comes to developing sales leads that the competition may not be as stiff as first thought. I like that — it says the business is there and it’s just a race to get it.
If there’s a downside to the situation, it’s how the sales profession as a whole is perceived. In my book, this situation means there are far too many customers, or I should say “customers in waiting,” who are not being taken care of properly. This means there are people not benefiting from what it is we as salespeople have to offer.
This means if you believe in what it is you sell, there are salespeople and customers alike not benefiting.
There is one more downside to so many salespeople not having their act together when it comes to prospecting, and that is we don’t have the opportunity to have strong competition pushing us to become even stronger. Compare this to sports. A top athlete becomes a top athlete when they’re pushed by others.
If the competition is weak, then we become weak.
Regardless of how inept your competition might be when it comes to sales prospecting, take the high road and get your act together and go out and get it. If anyone is going to get the business, it might as well be you.
Copyright 2012, Mark Hunter “The Sales Hunter.” Sales Motivation Blog.